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Formatting Your PowerPoint Presentation Using Slide Masters and Layouts

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  • 0:02 Themes & Slide Masters
  • 0:36 Applying a Layout
  • 1:44 Working with Masters
  • 2:57 Modifying A Layout
  • 3:54 New Layouts
  • 4:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Zandbergen

Paul has a PhD from the University of British Columbia and has taught Geographic Information Systems, statistics and computer programming for 15 years.

The use of slide masters makes it easier for you to control the design of your presentation. Learn how to use slide masters to apply existing layouts and create custom layouts.

Themes and Slide Masters

PowerPoint uses two approaches to control the appearance of slides in a presentation:

  • Themes control the colors, fonts, effects and background style of all the slides in a presentation. Most themes include variants that are identical in terms of general design but provide different options for colors and fonts.
  • Slide masters control the layout, master style and static slide elements of specific types of slides.

This lesson will look more closely at the use of slide masters.

Applying a Layout

Let's start with a presentation that already has a basic design applied to it. Each slide follows a particular layout. There is a layout for a title slide, one for a slide with a title and content, one for content with a caption, etc.

Each layout specifies which elements are located on a slide, where they are located and how large they are. You can change the layout of each slide to re-arrange the content into something more appropriate.

Select the Home ribbon. With a particular slide selected, click on Layout, and select the type of layout you want to apply. For example, let's change the layout of the current slide to Title and Content (please see video at 01:22). Notice how the same text and image are used, but they are moved to a different location and are changed in size.

The same layouts are available when creating a new slide. When you create a new slide and then add content, you can still go back and change your mind about the type of layout you want to use.

Working with Masters

Using layouts makes it possible to use a consistent style for your presentation. But where do these layouts come from, and how can you create your own layout? Time to work with slide masters.

Let's continue with the same presentation. Select the View ribbon, and click on Slide Master. This brings up the slide master for your presentation that controls the look of your entire presentation. When you look at the slide master, you no longer see the content of your presentation, only the general design.

By default, there is one slide master that controls the general design of the presentation, including colors, fonts, effects and backgrounds. There are a series of different slide layouts that control the placement and size of different elements for each type of layout.

For example, here is the title slide layout:

Title slide layout
powerpoint title slide layout

When you hover over the thumbnail of this layout, you can see which slides in your current presentation use this particular layout. You can scroll down to see all the possible layouts that are part of this master, even if they are not used in the current presentation.

Modify an Existing Layout

You can also make changes to an existing layout in the slide master. In this example, let's change the title slide:

Example slide
example powerpoint slide

Click on the thumbnail of the title slide so it appears in the main slide window.

Instead of having the text right-aligned, let's make it left-aligned. Click inside the text box for the title. Select the Home ribbon, and use the left-align tool. Repeat this for the subtitle. Return to the slide master tools by selecting the Slide Master ribbon at the top. Once you have made your changes to the master, you need to close the master view to return to the presentation.

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